Klassen finished the business
Malcolm Klassen (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - In what was labelled "The Unfinished Business" fight on Rainbow Promotions' bill at the Nasrec Indoor Arena here on Sunday afternoon, a sprightly Malcolm Klassen finished the business by outpointing and outclassing Cassius Baloyi
In the much-touted grudge fight between the two former IBF junior lightweight champions and top South African boxers, Klassen dominated the eight-round contest with his vastly superior speed and two-handed punching assault.
Afterwards, the 37 year-old Baloyi, who was nicknamed "the Hitman", announced his retirement from the ring after a celebrated career in which he annexed six international championship belts.
It was clear from the outset on Sunday that the speed, ability to ward off punishment and punching skill that had made Baloyi a world-class boxer in his prime, were now qualities that belonged in the past in what was a veritable requiem for a fine fighter.
It was only a combination of tenacity, courage and experience on the part of Baloyi that prevented Klassen gaining a second stoppage victory over "The Hitman".
And it was to Baloyi's credit that he did not as much as hit the canvas once during the bruising eight rounds.
Baloyi suffered a cut eye injury in the second round from what appeared a clash of heads. The 30 year-old Klassen demonstrated that he still possesses the qualities to take his career to renewed heights.
Already the current champion of the lesser-recognised WBF organisation after beating Mexican Damiel Limeli a year ago, it would not be unrealistic for Klassen to set his sights on a third IBF title or something similar if he makes more appearances in the ring than the two fights of the last three years.
In the main supporting bout at Nasrec, Limpopo-based Tsiko Mulovedhzi retained his South African welterweight title with a stunning, topsy-turvy fifth round TKO success against Kyle Smith.
It was Smith, who had won 11 of his 12 previous fights, who started like a house on fire in the opening round while landing a succession of left and right hooks that sent a groggy Mulovedhzi to the canvas for a count of eight.
Mulovedhzi barely saw out the first round and appeared to be heading for a knock-out defeat.
Instead, the fight underwent a dramatic turnaround in the second round as Smith lost his early momentum and never won another round.
He became a veritable punch-bag and was receiving a cruel, undefended beating when the referee stopped the uneven contest in the fifth round.